OVER 2 YOU 179
It is my intention to start
a modest collection of personal and home computers. Needless to say it will
include early IBM and Apple models (which I already have) and simpler machines
like the Sinclair Spectrum, but I would like suggestions for other less obvious
but equally historic models, preferably ground breaking machines that were the
first, fastest or most advanced of their day.
Will George, via email
The Commodore PET was the
first ready to go computer, with built in monitor and cassette deck for
storage. The Sinclair ZX80 was the first computer for less than £100, and its
successor the ZX81 went on to sell over a million machines. The Spectrum
as mentioned certainly deserves a place. The BBC Micro from Acorn was
hugely successful in schools; some are even still in use! There were also many
unusual machines. The Jupiter Ace used Forth as its resident programming
language rather than the usual BASIC and the Mattel Aquarius has to be
remembered as probably the most unsuccessful micro ever. Will mentioned Apple,
certainly the Apple II was phenomenally successful and the Apple Lisa, the
forerunner to the Mac introduced the graphic interface and mouse we are all
familiar with today.
The Museum of Computing has over 120 different home computers, so I suggest
Will invests in a large storage area!
Simon Webb, Curator, Museum of Computing,
How about the Amstrad PCW
series, which opened the personal computing door to millions?
Peter Gray, via email
The Atari ST range and
Falcon are musts in any collection. I
was impressed by the display of old computers at Bletchley Park on a visit
there a couple of years ago.
Alan Jackson, via email
don’t think any collection would be complete without at least one MSX computer.
This was an ill-judged attempt by the Japanese consumer electronics industry in
the mid 1980s to establish a new ‘standard’, to compete with the emerging PC
format and the Sinclair and Amstrad home PC markets. It flopped badly but you
can still pick up machines and software from the likes of Sony, JVC and
Panasonic quite cheaply on ebay.
Nichols, via email
The Sharp MZ80K from 1981
should be included. It was a contemporary of the Commodore Pet and Tandy TRS80
and had an integral keyboard, black and white screen and cassette recorder for
loading/saving programs. It had a market-leading 48k of RAM, but its
unique selling point was that BASIC was not built-in but had also to be loaded
via cassette, which took time but enabled many different and ingenious
variations of the language to be used. I still have my MZ80K and
it still works perfectly, though serious uses for it are a little hard to find.
Geoff Long, Milton Keynes
My first computer was a
Commode Vic20, which came out about the same time as the first Sinclair machine
and was the predecessor of the Commodore 64. I still have the machine, with its
tape recorder and plotter/printer and some tapes, all of which worked last time
I connected it all up. If Mr. George can arrange collection he is welcome to
Jim Vincent, via email
have in storage two Intertec Data Systems Superbrain
II computers, circa 1983/4, which Will George is welcome to have if he wishes.
L Parkin, via email
I have two Word Processors
Monotype 75 (new £8,000 each!) and an IBM printer circa 1975 and working when
last used. I would be happy to donate them to anyone willing to arrange
and pay for collection and delivery.
Frank Porter, via email
Any Acorn machine from Atom
to RiscPC via the BBC series and the Archimedes (and I think there was a
pre-Atom model for home assembly). The only problem is that they are
still so good that lots are still in use, if only for specialised
applications. My old (1982) BBC Model B still works like a dream.
There are still active user groups (generally under the banner of RiscOS, the
Acorn developed GUI operating system introduced for the Archimedes, some
aspects of which were adopted by MS in 1990s versions of Windows) and these
groups have shows where there are often charity stalls selling older models -
and as well as ebay there are newsgroups where Acorn kit is bought and sold.
Roger Hird, via email
I am trying to convert
photographs to lithograph (black or white, no greyscales) drawings, with a
better degree of definition than available with PSP/Photoshop pencil tools. Using
Greyscales > Glowing Edges > Negative > Reduce Colour Depth to 2,
gives quite a good result, but can anyone do better, or recommend any
Geoff Green, via email
I can recommend an article
by Kenneth Naversen that appeared in the British Journal of Photography a
couple of years ago. Briefly, his technique is: Greyscale > Unsharp
Mask (applied at maximum strength) > Poster Edges > Threshold. This will
provide a range of very interesting effects, depending on the values chosen at
various stages of the process.
Richard Hann, via email
An easy way of
getting a lithographic effect in Photoshop is to lower the contrast of the
image until it there is good detail in both highlights and shadows. In
Filter/Sharpen apply Unsharp Masking with the Amount set to 500 percent. Set
Radius to between 1and 2 pixels. Set Threshold to zero levels. In Image/Adjust
apply Threshold adjusting levels as required. The values may need to be varied
a little according to the nature of the subject and the file size.
Mike Busselle, via email
CAN YOU HELP
Can anyone suggest a way of making labels for
bottles, including clip art and text, to make my home made wine look more
Carol West, Welwyn Garden
son needs often sends long hours travelling around districts by car looking at
houses. His list of properties contains post codes and it would be
wonderful if someone could suggest a computer program that could arrange
the addresses in a sequence, to enable them reached in as short a time as
Dr. Dale Beckett, via